Notes on Fyter Fest

Testing out a new format here, which will allow me to give my thoughts on more than just a handful of topics and that will also allow me to go as deep or as shallow as need be. With that being said let’s get in to talking about Fyter Fest.

  • AEW recently just signed Private Party to restructured deals based on their performance from Fyter Fest, this is great and all but however I would love to see them perform in a 2v2 tag match just to get a better sense of who they are as a normal tag team. Instead of them performing in a three way tag match.
  • All told aside from the three way tag match the pre-show was not really good at all, with the most notably bad match being Jebailey vs Michael Nakazawa. This had no business being on a wrestling show the caliber of AEW and most importantly didn’t belong on a card that had far better matches.
  • AEW crowds tend to be a “Smarter” bunch and religiously follow the Being The Elite series that’s on youtube, which means they’d at least be familiar with the Librarian character…..But I think this character really is struggling with audiences, who have no idea how to react to it and if they should take it seriously or not.
  • Moving on to the main card I really like Christopher Daniels but can we please move him from the opener spot? I feel like if he is really spotlighted by the company in a big time (possibly main event) match against someone like Cody or some of the other Elite members he would really dazzle audiences with his skills. CIMA is also a very capable hand and look foward him to get a match he can really sink his teeth into with Kenny Omega at Fight For the Fallen.
  • With the Joshi women wrestlers on the AEW roster they really bring a uniqueness to the roster with their look and just the in ring work really solidifies that they are just as much of a threat to the Women’s Title as the likes of Awesome Kong, Nyla Rose, and Allie.
  • I feel the need to make this it’s own bullet point, Nyla Rose really has the chance to make herself into a big star in AEW, she’s got a intimidating look, her heel work is on point, and while we may not have heard a promo from her we don’t really need to. She could easily work with a mouthpiece or just be a silent monster and get a lot accomplished just like that.
  • Jungle Boy really impressed me in my first time seeing him compete in this fatal four way match against Hangman Adam Page, MJF, and Jimmy Havoc. My only issue overall with the match was that while everyone got a chance to shine for the audience, Havoc’s felt like he got shortchanged.
  • Adam Page is really proving why the company is pushing him to the moon by having stellar work against PAC and in this fatal four way, that being said I feel like MJF will cost him his title match vs Chris Jericho, leading to a more fleshed out feud with Friedman.
  • For me personally Cody vs Darby Allin was my match of the night, the story telling of Darby just not staying down vs Cody really made Allin look like he was completely unstoppable. Combined with the fact that Cody let his hubris get the better of him leading to a draw on his record now is a great example of the type of storytelling that the company needs to focus on going forward. Not whatever that Jebailey guy was doing…
  • I worry that the tag matches with the Young Bucks vs the Lucha Brothers will grow stale here soon, it was just recently announced that we are getting a rematch of this very match at AAA’s TripleMania this year and that will make it match 5 since the Bucks captured the AAA tag team titles before Double or Nothing. I will say though, worries aside, this match was incredible and really showed off the talents of Rey Fenix and the Laredo Kid, I hope they split the Lucha Bros up so that we get more individual performances from Fenix and Penta soon.
  • While Moxley vs Janela was a great match I want to focus on what took place after the match ended with Kenny Omega attacking Moxley as revenge for how Double Or Nothing ended for Omega. This is a great character moment for Omega as Kenny isn’t a very aggressive character, only really choosing to attack Jericho in the build up to their Wrestle Kingdom 12 match after being attacked multiple times himself. This really shows how brutal the All Out match will potentially be considering this is now a rather hot feud.
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N(e)XT in Line

NXT has really gone from having one of their low periods in 2016-2017 to having a boom period chock full of talent that could easily headline a Takeover all their own. People like Johnny Gargano, Adam Cole (BayBay), Matt Riddle, and even a handful of the women and tag teams, there is so much talent that William Regal took to announce during last week’s NXT episode the NXT Breakout Tournament, with the winner of such tournament getting a title shot of their choosing (likely being a shot at the NXT Title). With the 8-man format keeping things short and sweet and the finals taking place at Takeover Toronto during Summerslam weekend, there is a great opportunity for seriously shaking up the status-quo. Seeing as how the tourney starts with this week’s episode of NXT let’s take a look at some of the competitors and who really could breakout (pun unintended) and possibly shoot up to the main event of the NXT roster.

Bronson Reed (f.k.a Jonah Rock) represents a very underappreciated that being the Australian and New Zealand region of the world. Reed’s inclusion in a singles tournament is rather interesting being that he was a part of a faction in The Mighty Don’t Kneel and would frequently team with other members of TMDK, and has held multiple tag team titles over the various aussie promotions in addition to competing for the NXT Tag Team titles on the more experimental Florida house show loop. However the big companies (NJPW and WWE/NXT) trust their top tier talent and champions with Reed, and he’s put on excellent matches with the likes of Tetsuya Naito, WALTER, and has even competed in PWG’s Battle Of Los Angeles. While there is a serious talent gap between Reed and the main event quality talent, he should easily make himself at home in NXT’s North American title division.

Jordan Myles (f.k.a ACH) is honestly one of the most versatile talent in the latest batch that have been signed away to NXT, someone who has been a solid hand and very reliable to the likes of ROH and NJPW, there is something to be said for how much good faith that the former ACH has built up. With the charisma to easily endear himself to the fans and the high flying ability to dazzle said fans, Myles will quickly become a fan favorite and will be a great personality to have in the locker room. Jordan Myles’ presence also creates multiple dream matches with not just people in NXT but also 205 Live because of his athleticism and his pure babyface attitude, would love to see him take bumps for the likes of Adam Cole, Damien Priest, and even some of the NXT UK guys like WALTER, and Wolfgang. One of Myles’ underrated qualities is his ability as a tag team wrestler, working with Keith Lee on the NXT house shows as a nice thunder and lightning combo; even working with Ryusuke Taguchi in the Best of The Super Jrs. tag team tournament, so the durability is there too. Much like Bronson Reed you should be expecting to see Jordan Myles in the North American division and possibly even in the Cruiserweight Championship mix too.

Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott (f.k.a Shane Strickland) has one of the highest upsides of anyone in this tournament, the confidence and swagger that is entirely palpable to anyone in the audience and is someone that is entirely capable of being a main eventer as MLW has clearly proven. The unique selling point to Swerve is that he isn’t just a bunch of high-spots, he knows how and when to bust out the array of mind blowing moves that he has at his disposal. The public at large are coming to understand the talent that Isaiah Scott has, with PWI listing him at 221 in last year’s 500 list, and even making waves as Killshot in Lucha Underground, not really something that many wrestlers coming into NXT could claim unless they were coming in from places like ROH and NJPW. Character wise Swerve is very malleable working with the likes of Matt Riddle, Kassius Ohno, and even Zach Sabre Jr, speaking to how his style is evolving as time goes on. Keep your eyes on Isaiah Scott as he could easily become NXT champion in the near future, possibly even a triple crown champion in the yellow brand.

The last wrestler I’ll look at is Cameron Grimes (f.k.a Trevor Lee), Grimes’ selling point is the background that he came from living in Cameron, North Carolina and being trained by Matt and Jeff Hardy. The Carolina Caveman has gotten to learn from some of the best of not only yesterday but today from being in teams with the likes of David Starr, Jeff Cobb and Eddie Kingston. Grimes has a heel presence that few in the NXT ranks can match and does not try to pander to the audience with the cool heel bravado that plagues a lot of talent in the wrestling world today, even going as far as to willingly let himself get embarrassed if it means that the babyface gets more shine as a result. Much like Jordan Myles the former Trevor Lee is also a capable hand within the confines of a tag team match as well, teaming with Andrew Everett as the Helms Dynasty or teaming with the various members of the Wrstling stable that was popular in AAW in the midwest. Look for Grimes to receive the highest praise out of anyone in the tournament, and make it to the final at Takeover Toronto, he easily could put out a five star classic that night and possibly have the match of that weekend.

That being said there are more than just the four gentlemen that I detailed in this article, the likes of Dexter Lumis, Angel Garza and Joaquin Wilde are all wonderful talents in their own right. However the four that I detailed in this piece are the ones that I see possibly making more for themselves than just what lies in this tournament, people that can really thrive after this is all said and done. Most importantly they are ones that come in looking to prove that there is more than just what’s beyond the walls of the performance center and that they look to make their mark on NXT. The entire brand will flip on it’s axis after this tournament starts this Wednesday and hopefully everyone involved makes the most of their chance.

G1 Dream Matches

The G1 Climax can play host to several dream matches due to it’s round-robin style format, this has led to a ton of names that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Matches like Minoru Suzuki vs AJ Styles during the height of his Bullet Club era of the Phenominal One’s career, and the second Okada vs Omega match which went to a time limit draw. 2019 promises to be one of the more stacked years in G1 history with people making their debut, people that are looking to establish dominance over the roster, and even people looking to prove themselves to the heavyweights of the roster. With both the A and B blocks of the G1 being announced on the 16th of this month there are plenty of mouthwatering matches that are being presented this year even on the first night that is emanating from Dallas, which will be the first time a G1 Climax match will take place outside of Japan.

As stated in the previous paragraph night one of the G1 Climax will be an absolute wonder for NJPW fans as we get to see another addition to a historic rivalry between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada. The pairing that gave us the Rainmaker Shock and multiple IWGP Title matches is coming back to dazzle audiences, in what will be their 13th singles match against each other Tanahashi has the chance to get another title match should he be able to hit the Rainmaker with the High Fly Flow and secure the pin. The one concern would be how well can Tanahashi hold up health wise, it’s no secret that Tana has been falling apart over the past few years, with stuff like torn biceps and various knee injuries. So who knows how long this feud can go on, all the more reason to enjoy it while it lasts.

Another wonderful A Block match that could prove to be one of the best matches of this year’s G1 is the Aerial Assassin Will Ospreay vs Sanada. Ospreay is making things clear that he has eyes on the heavyweight division as a whole, with Sanada looking to possibly break out of the tag team competitor slot that he has been pegged in, even having a five star quality match against Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight title at the end of the New Japan Cup tour. The pace for this match will breakneck as despite his heavyweight status Ospreay is still capable of the high-flying acrobatics of his Jr. days, same can be said for the Cold Skull Sanada even going as far as using his mentor the Great Muta’s famous moonsault. That being said this isn’t going to be anything similar to Ospreay vs Ricochet either, seeing as how both men has added power moves to their arsenal, Ospreay has even lifted Bad Luck Fale and Lance Archer up for the Stormbreaker, with both men easily topping 300 lbs.

Skipping forward to the July 24th show in Hiroshima, we get a match with two people who both have something to prove in NJPW and to NJPW management. The Dragon Shingo Takagi vs Jon Moxley, after the very high caliber match that Shingo had with Will Ospreay the Dragon demanded that he face more heavyweight talent, seeing that as a reason why he lost the Best of the Super Jr final to the Aerial Assassin. Besides a handful of other names there isn’t much of a bigger challenge than that of the Death Rider, Shingo would stand to gain a lot of favor with fans and management if he puts out a great match with Mox. Much like the Okada and Tanahashi if Shingo were to gain a victory he would get a title shot at Moxley’s IWGP US championship, which would be the first shot at heavyweight gold in his NJPW tenure.

The last match we will look at will be from one of the last B Block shows, taking place on August 4th in Osaka with Jon Moxley vs Jay White. Switchblade Jay White is one of the most hated heels in the entire wrestling industry, and with Moxley having all of the momentum in the world following his AEW debut and him capturing the IWGP US title he will certainly have little issue getting the fans behind his back. This match will be interesting from the heel/face dynamic, with the fact that even though Mox has been cheered on by the NJPW faithful he has embraced some heelish tactics in the ring, using the ref’s 5 count before breaking a hold and others like it, this is all child’s play to Jay White who will have Gedo by his side to interfere should Switchblade call for it. In ring wise there is a similarity between White and Moxley, who both have a very heavy emphasis on being methodical and making sure that they wear their opposition down with grit and grinding moves before hitting their respective finisher.

The legacy of this G1 will likely lie with how star studded this year’s A and B blocks are, with the feeling that there is a wide number of people who could realistically have a chance to win the final. The final in of itself is likely to produce a 5 star instant classic, something akin to last year’s Ibushi and Tanahashi’s final. Looking foward even more (assuming Okada is still the champ by the time of Wrestle Kingdom) imagine whoever winning the G1 having to face the Rainmaker in the main event of NJPW’s biggest show. This is setting up to be possibly one of the greatest G1 tournaments of all time let alone recent memory.

The Alpha and The Painmaker

We can all agree that Chris Jericho has had a storybook career within not only pro wrestling but as a author and musician, one that hat spanned multiple decades. He’s truly a generational talent, and people are now finally seeing that as truth, even at the age of 48 (at time of writing) Jericho has grasped the attention of the wrestling fan base as a whole once again with his work in AEW and NJPW. Constantly reinventing himself to keep his character fresh changing his character twice in New Japan even. This week we are doing a deep dive in to Jericho’s current NJPW run and examining his big matches in addition to how he is booked.

The first thing that draws attention to Jericho in New Japan is that he has no alliances with any of the big factions in NJPW, seeing that he as attacked members of Bullet Club, Los Ingobernables De Japon, and Chaos. This allows for Jericho to play a sort of unhinged wild card and be treated as some sort of force of nature, never knowing when he would attack or make his presence felt (the same type of character he employed before All In). The most sadistic was with his first feud with Kenny Omega, attacking him multiple times after matches and even at press conferences, time after time resulting in Omega donning the crimson mask. Leading up to Wrestle Kingdom 12 where the two engaged in a very brawling centric match that featured table and heavy weapon usage, despite it being labeled as a normal 1 on 1 title match for Omega’s IWGP US title.

New Year’s Dash is a show that takes place the very night after Wrestle Kingdom (New Japan’s equivalent to the Raw after Wrestlemania), this is where Jericho would show up after his match with Kenny Omega and make his intentions clear that he was going title hunting by attacking (At the time) IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito. This is where Jericho’s schedule gets more and more spotty as he was wrapping up his time with WWE, working his last event in late April at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Once again Naito was jumped and left in a bloody pulp at Wrestling Dontaku in Fukuoka, officially challenging Naito to a title match at Dominion in Osaka-Jo Hall. This is where Jericho would gain his first IWGP title in the Intercontinental title after multiple Codebreakers and even a Liontamer. After 4 months of not even appearing for the company despite being the champion Jericho finally showed up to attack the man who would go on to be his first challenger in fellow LIJ stable mate of Naito, EVIL.

At this point Jericho had been feuding with LIJ as a whole, after he made quick work of EVIL he was back to feuding with Naito for the title that Naito lost to Jericho. This led to the tables being turned on Jericho when Naito jumped Jericho at the Wrestle Kingdom 13 press conferences, Jericho would seek revenge at a Road To Tokyo Dome show by blasting Naito with multiple chair shots to the head. Jericho would later go on to proclaim that he is going to end Naito’s career, in one of the many promos that he would cut leading up to Wrestle Kingdom 13. This would all be in vain as after eating a Destino Jericho would drop his IWGP Intercontinental back to Naito and wouldn’t be seen for the rest of 2018 until All In.

Jericho’s schedule was very light in 2018 aside from All In as he was busy planning and running his Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Rager cruise, where he would briefly work with ROH and Impact. After All In Jericho was not really heard from until it was announced that he would be signing with the brand new AEW on a deal that would allow for him to not only work for AEW and tour with his band Fozzy but also work for NJPW. This would lead to his most recent NJPW showing against Kazuchika Okada, where in a promo Jericho would dub himself the “Painmaker”. After having a decent mix of brawling and technical work and getting rolled up by Okada the Painmaker would jump the IWGP Heavyweight champ leading to the person who is likely to be Jericho’s next feud to come to the rescue, Hiroshi Tanahashi. Jericho has definitely showed that there is success to be had outside of the machine that is WWE, and has showed that he is still competing at an elite level.

Wrestling’s “Paradigm Shift”

“That is what you call a paradigm shift” These were the words of Jon Moxley the night after his mindshattering debut at Double or Nothing, and for some companies this has exactly been the case, and others see this as nothing more than the ramblings of a ‘lunatic’. It wasn’t just Moxley talking about changing the industry, Jericho, Dustin Rhodes, and the Young Bucks have a much more transformative view of the wrestling industry. Weather directly or indirectly change is good and with wrestling change was something that was much needed, even if to something like NJPW it wasn’t seen as needed exactly it helps keeps things from getting stale. Even better it can lead to others getting opportunities that might not have been afforded to them otherwise, with two companies in particular doing so being ROH and NJPW. Let’s take a look at whatever shifting might’ve taken place since the ‘Death Rider’ has made his presence known.

Ring Of Honor has taken a rather interesting approach by embracing the gang wars of the past that have taken place within the WWF and NJPW. Creating Lifeblood and Villain Enterprises, and choosing to embrace the Kingdom by crowning it’s leader Matt Taven as the ROH World Champion. ROH is also taking the chance on some talent that were available such as Rush, Bandido, ‘Overkill’ Mark Haskins, and Brody King, this has led to a lot being flipped on it’s head because of the addition of the leader of Lifeblood, NJPW’s Juice Robinson. Who has already made an impact on the Tag Title division with David Finlay, and has up until June 5th held the IWGP U.S. while leading his own stable. Ultimately someone who has benefitted the most from the void left behind by Cody Rhodes, that one person being the Villain Marty Scurll. He has completely jumped into the top of the card even competing for the ROH title in one of the biggest and most hyped matches of the year against Jay Lethal and Matt Taven.

New Japan stood to lose the most cause of the creation of AEW with the loss of Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks, taking out two pillars of their respective heavyweight divisions. NJPW sought the opportunity to reestablish G.o.D as a top contender within Bullet Club for the Heavyweight Tag Team titles, while at the same time pushing fellow Bulllet Club member Jay White to the top of the card on the singles side of the equation. Ospreay and Kota Ibushi are also seeing the benefits of a slightly thinner roster with Ibushi finally capturing gold after New Japan brass were afraid to put a title around his waist with his freelancer status; whereas Will Ospreay is finally competing consistently in the Heavyweight division with the leader of his Chaos faction in Okada. Even looking lower down on the card you can see the need for fresh blood in the roster with the additons of El-P, Robbie Eagles, and Mikey Nichols.

WWE are using a rather bold tactic by not really stepping up to the plate, the constant mind games with Brock Lesnar acting as if he is going to cash in his Money In The Bank contract, lackluster builds to feuds and continuing to take trips to Saudi Arabia despite media and fan backlash. Things have escalated to the point where wrestlers are constantly taking shots at the company on social media, not just from outside the company but within. The other odd method of attacking this outside pressure is by basically ignoring it, something that would’ve seemed like it was out of character for the Vince McMahon of the late 1990’s. The old Vince would jump at the slightest chance of a potential war with another company, but it seems as if the old dog has lost it’s bite. Even going as far as to contest a scripted mention of AEW to make it seem like Sami Zayn went off script when he said it.

The wrestling industry is due to undergo a massive face lift as a result of the critical acclaim and fan support of AEW; this is something that isn’t going to easily go away any time soon. As long as it exists and continues to pump out shows at the quality level of Double or Nothing then fans are going to compare it to whatever is the newest show. This is the perfect time to step up and put out some good content, competition breeds necessity, which leads to invention and innovation. We can all agree this will be nothing but good for the wrestling world at large.